Oscar Pistorius: Fallen Hero or Abusive Boyfriend?

By Candace Dempsey
Who is famed South African runner Oscar Pistorius really? Did the Olympic athlete known as Bladerunner mean to murder girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp? Is he lying when he claims it was a horrible "mistake? Did that gun just go off 4 times? South African psychologist Leonard L. Carr's trial tweets were eye-opening during Oscar's first week on the stand.

Yellowstone's Famous Bison: Mensa Material?

I, too, want to believe Yellowstone's famous bison are creative geniuses, Cassandras able to predict natural disasters way ahead of scientists. That they know just when to get the hell out of Dodge. But I couldn't help laughing--and being skeptical--when Britain's Independent newspaper went crazy on Twitter tonight:

"Animals are fleeing Yellowstone Park in vast numbers, sparking fears a super volcano may erupt."


Like much of the Twitterverse, the Guardian fell for the "ALERT! Yellowstone Buffalo Running for Their Lives!"video  (see below) that went viral right around April Fool's Day (Yes, should've been a clue.). Said video claims to show the mammoth beasts thundering out of the snow-driven park in droves, sensing doom. A massive earthquake, maybe. A volcano erupting under the hot springs and fumaroles.

Having worked in Yellowstone National Park one enchanted summer, I tried to suspend disbelief (if they're so smart, how come they nearly went extinct?). Then some spoilsport scientist told the Christian Science Monitor  that bison are migratory. They often leave the park, looking for green things to chow down. To add insult to injury:

Park officials have noted that these two dozen or so bison are actually running deeper into the park, not away from it. It's true that many of Yellowstone's 4,600 bison are outside the park right now.
Why? Not because of Sunday's 4.8-magnitude earthquake, which was Yellowstone's biggest quake in decades but is still just one of the 1,000 to 3,000 temblors the park sees each year. 

And it's not, as the caption to the video suggests, because the supervolcano underlying Yellowstone's hundreds of hot springs and fumaroles is about to erupt catastrophically. Bison – and elk, and white-tail deer, and black-tail deer – leave the park in the springtime for a very simple reason, says Yellowstone's Public Affairs Chief Al Nash. Hunger.

You know what?  Real life is not always stranger than fiction.

Can Passion Get You Up a Mountain?

Blimey. Rain, snow, cold, heat, not to mention bugs. Some days the sun shines on a mountain. More often, it tests courage. What gets you up where you belong?  Curiosity. A love of the outdoors.

I needed inspiration on this gray day, down here at sea level in beautiful Seattle. Outside's "Passion: The Days You Need It Most" cured my blues. Try it.